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Wake Up To Politics - September 26, 2016

Monday, September 26, 2016

0 Days until the first Presidential Debate! (Sept. 26)

4 Days until the Government Funding Deadline (Sept. 30)
43 Days until Election Day 2016 + my 15th birthday (Nov. 8)I'm Gabe Fleisher for Wake Up To Politics, and reporting from WUTP world HQ in my bedroom - Good morning: THIS IS YOUR WAKE UP CALL!!!

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Need to Know

  • Trump, Clinton to Meet in Highly-Anticipated First Debate Tonight Major-party presidential nominees Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will share a stage tonight for the first time in the 2016 presidential election, as they go head-to-head at the general election's first debate, taking place at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York.
  • The first debate could have a huge effect on the race between Trump and Clinton, which is becoming increasingly tighter. A new national poll released this morning by Bloomberg show the two nominees tied, 46% to 46%, in a head-to-head match-up. When Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson and Green party nominee Jill Stein are added, Trump takes a 2-point lead over Clinton, 43% to 41%. Other polls released Sunday showed a tighter race nationally, with an ABC/Washington Post survey giving Clinton a 2-point lead in a four-way race. Meanwhile, the newest state polls paint a similar picture: a CNN/ORC poll of two battleground states released today show Trump with a 1-point lead in Colorado, 42% to 41%, and Clinton with a 1% lead in Pennsylvania, 45% to 44%.
  • Due to this election's historic nature, pitting the first female major party nominee against a bombastic political outsider, the stakes before the debate could not be higher. A Super Bowl-sized audience is expected to watch the first Trump vs. Clinton showdown, with experts saying as many as 80 to 100 million viewers could tune in. The viewership of the first 2012 presidential debate, 67.2 million, is expected to be easily exceeded, as is the the record-setting 1980 presidential debate between Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter (watched by 80.6 million viewers, a larger audience than any other televised debate).
  • However, tonight could also not result in a tectonic shift in the race: presidential debates normally don't: The 2008 vice-presidential debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin is an example of a highly-anticipated debate that ended with neither candidate making a large gaffe, and the race continuing unchanged. In cases where debates do present a clear loser, that candidate can also easily come back: like Barack Obama's victory after an aloof performance in the first debate of 2012.
  • The disadvantage tonight goes to Clinton, due to the high expectations on her as the policy expert and the low expectations of her opponent.
  • It is not impossible that Trump will meet those low expectations. In recent weeks on the campaign trail, the Republican has relied on a TelePrompter to erase the bombastic comments that plagued the first year of his campaign. He will have no such device tonight, and if Clinton succeeds in rattling him, all bets are off. Then, of course, it is also entirely possible that Trump stays on-message for the entire debate, in which case he may win simply by appearing calmer than expected.
  • The deep differences between the candidates are underlined in how each prepared for tonight. Hillary Clinton took the traditional path of using a campaign aide as a stand-in for her opponent, using multiple sessions to study the issues and questions expected to come up. Donald Trump's aides say the campaign didn't hold mock debates, and has spent much less time preparing. Therefore, Trump could emerge unscripted and controversial tonight, or could choose to take a more sober approach. Trump as a loose cannon could include him insulting his opponent with the moniker "Crooked Hillary" or otherwise, and could see him dredge up controversies of the 1990's. Trump threatened Saturday to invite Gennifer Flowers, who revealed her affair with Bill Clinton during the 1992 presidential campaign, to tonight's debate, showing that the former president's misdeeds are on Trump's mind ahead of the debate.
  • If his rallies or primary debates are any indication - although he never had to face an opponent one-on-one, like Clinton has in her 2000 Senate race and in the 2008 presidential primaries - Trump is also expected to pay little attention to the truth. The Clinton campaign has insisted that NBC "Nightly News" anchor Lester Holt, tonight's moderator, has a responsibility to fact-check the candidates when they lie during the debate; Team Trump, and the Commission on Presidential Debates itself, have said that the moderator should remain in the background and let the candidates go after each other.
  • Tonight's debate will start at 9pm Eastern Time, and last until 10:30pm - with no commercial breaks. The debate will be split into six 15-minute time segments, with two segments focusing on each of the following topics, selected by Holt: "America's Direction," "Achieving Prosperity," and "Securing America." Each segment will begin with a question, which each candidate will receive two minutes to respond to and then to respond to each other (the remainder of the segment allows the moderator to continue to explore the topic and ask questions). The debate will be aired on a number of broadcast channels, including ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, and PBS, as well as on CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, Fox News, Fox Business, Bloomberg, CPSAN-2, CSPAN-2, Telemundo, Univision, Fusion and TV Azteca on cable. In addition, Facebook will carry a livestream from ABC News, while Twitter is partnering with Bloomberg to stream the channel's debate coverage. PBS, Telemundo, and the Washington Post will stream the debate on YouTube.
  • Wake Up To Politics will be live-tweeting the debate from @WakeUp2Politics, so please follow along - and, of course, check your inbox tomorrow morning for a full recap of tonight's debate!

Politics Planner

  • White House President Barack Obama spends the day at the White House today, talking with rabbis and hosting Native Americans. His schedule is empty tonight...and his TV probably won't be tuned to ESPN.
  • At 10:30am, Obama will receive the Presidential Daily Briefing in the Oval Office.
  • At 3pm, the President will participate in a conference call with rabbis ahead of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish holiday beginning Sunday evening.
  • Finally, at 3:40pm, he will address his eighth and final White House Tribal Nations Conference, a summit of leaders from the 567 federally-recognized American Indiana and Alaska Native tribes in the United States.
  • Congress Both houses of Congress are in session today. The Senate will meet at 3pm, and resume consideration of the continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government through December 9. No roll call votes will be held in the upper chamber today; a cloture vote, requring 60 "yeas," will be held on the stopgap spending plan Tuesday. Current government funding runs out on Friday.
  • The House, meanwhile, meets at 12pm today for member speeches, and begins votes at 6:30pm. The chamber will vote on 16 bills, including the Mental Health First Aid Act, the Clarification of Treatment of Electronic Sales of Livestock Act, the National Forest Trails Stewardship Act, t, the First Responder Access to Innovative Technologies Act, the Cyber Preparedness Act, the Securing our Agriculture and Food Act, and the Vet Connect Act.
  • Campaign 2016 Neither presidential nominee will make any public appearances before the debate tonight. In Trump's stead, Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence will hold a 1:30pm in Milford, New Hamsphire; Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine will campaign for Clinton with a 12:15pm organizing event in Lakeland, Florida and a 4pm roundtable with Latino faith leaders in Orlando, Florida.
  • Pence will watch the debate in the audience at Hofstra University, as will Trump's wife Melania and five children. Kaine will attend a "LGBT Debate Watch Party" in Orlando, hosted by the Human Rights Campaign; Clinton's daughter Chelsea will attend the debate, although it is unclear whether Bill Clinton will be in the audience.
  • Meanwhile, Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein - who both failed to qualify for tonight's debate - will both be at Hofstra University as well. Johnson and his supporters will hold a "Free Speech Assembly" before the debate to protest his exclusion; Stein and her supporters will also protest and engage in acts of civil disobedience.

Daily Data

  • Do Debates Influence Voters? 34% of registered voters - more than one-third - say the presidential debates will be very important in their decision of which presidential candidate to support, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC poll.
  • Expectations Game The polished, studious Clinton is expected by 44% of voters to win the debate, according to a Washington Post/ABC poll. 34% expect Trump to win. 17% of registered voters in the WaPo/ABC poll said their minds could be changed by the debate, with 80% saying they plan to tune in.

Today's Trivia

  • Today's Question Tonight's debate, the first between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, take place on the same day as the first debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon in 1960 - the first televised debate in presidential campaign history. Which U.S. law had to be waived before the historic 1960 debate to allow the event to be limited to just Kennedy and Nixon?
  • Do you think you know the right answer? Send it to me at trivia@wakeuptopolitics.com...correct respondents get their name in tomorrow's newsletter!
  • Friday's Question Last Friday, ahead of President Obama's veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, which could become his first veto to be overridden, the trivia question was: who was the first President to have a veto overridden?
  • The answer...President John Tyler, whose 1845 veto of a bill prohibiting the President from authorizing the building of Coast Guard Ships without congressional approval was overridden by a lame-duck Congress. While five out of his nine predecessors had taken advantage of the veto (including the first president, George Washington), the U.C. Congress had never before taken advantage of their ability to override a presidential veto with a 2/3 vote.
  • GREAT JOB...Joan Zucker, Marlee Millman, Garrett Cohn, Scott Bennett, Rick Isserman, Frank Cohen, Steve Gitnik, Jakob Gibson, Anne DePalma, Dan Filliol, Ellen Turongian, and Matt Neufeld!
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For more on Wake Up To Politics, listen to Gabe on NPR's "Talk of the Nation", St. Louis Public Radio, the Political Junkie podcast, and on StoryCorps; watch Gabe on MSNBC's "Up with Steve Kornacki"; and read about Gabe in Politico, the Washington Post, Independent Journal, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Salon, the Globe, and the St. Louis Jewish Light.